Vroom Vroom

Concerning the girl, Cassie Briscoe, on the cover story, “Shame” (April 11). Can you just this pass along and tell her that she’s gorgeous! I would ask her to do a photo shoot on my Harley in a heartbeat!

Name Withheld
via email

Keep on Truckin’

This letter is just something that has been happening to me since I have been released from jail, not prison — just like those girls in the story (“Shame,” April 11) are in jail, not prison. They are inmates, not prisoners.

I have been dealing with heroin addiction for over twelve years. This last run has cost me a lot. I am now a felon on probation. Since I am a convicted narcotics offender, I do not qualify for food stamps or medical. It has also cost me my job and my place to live. I am now jobless, penniless, homeless, and hungry.

Also, I am still addicted to opiates. I’m off the heroin, but I am addicted to the methadone that I am on, which will not be long because I ran out of money to pay the methadone clinic. I have been having a lot of trouble trying to get into a detox center in time, so I will have a place to be sick. I was told at one detox center that there is nothing they can do for me because of the politicians we have in our county.

I always voted for the other guy (the more liberal one) when I could vote. I have been desperately trying to find work but, like the story says, you have to check that little box that says, “Are you a convicted felon?” So, I believe a lot of applications are filed under T for Trashcan. Now it is too late to try to find a job to pay for my methadone because they are kicking me out.

I am not going to go back to my old ways. I am not going to break the law anymore, even though it seems like the bureaucratic system in this county and state are pushing me that way.

Once you are in the legal system, it is very hard to get out of it. All I can do is to keep on trucking away and do my best to get through my addiction. Hopefully, someday I will get a job so I may pay my fines and rehab centers back. I know it is going to be hard, harder than most “normal” people will ever know.

Tim
via email

Not So Appy

Regarding your article, “In an Appy Mood” (April 4) by Moss Gropen. What a painfully negative and mean article.

Kimberly Knox
via email

Zero-Based Budgeting

Excellent article: “San Diego State’s Growing Contempt for Undergrads” (March 28 cover story). The article makes several excellent points relative to the shifting direction of SDSU’s priorities and primary mission. Namely, focusing on “publish or parish” and “research to grant grab” mentality has truly created a tremendous disservice not only to the nearly 25,000 undergraduates at SDSU, but to the greater San Diego and regional communities as well.

The loss of mission critical thinking for both short- and long-range goal-setting, is not something new at SDSU. The fact is that for the past 30 years, there has been a fundamental failure by SDSU administrative leadership and system leaders to apply the same creativity and thoughtfulness to a new world of reduced resources and a shrinking tax base.

Unless the bureaucracy at SDSU comes to immediate terms with the bleeding erosion of their ongoing acts, the promise of accessibility and quality education will be lost. The following must be the immediate focus and not continued administrative empire building.

—Address the dramatic hikes in cost to students and obstacles to university access. 83% increase in tuition is outrages.

— Inadequate attention to educational quality and outcomes. On average, only 52% of first-time, full-time freshman graduate from SDSU within six years. Only 17% graduate within four years. Of those that do graduate, many are graduating with vast gaps in their skills and knowledge. Less than 11% are able to obtain employment in careers even close to their area of studies. In 2012, less than 15% of graduates were able to obtain above minimum wage employment, many struggling to repay massive student loans.

— SDSU administration has repeatedly refused to use nationally normed and validated assessments to determine whether undergraduates are getting the education they need, for the job market of today — and whether the public is making a good investment.

—SDSU continues to project millions in future building projects, remaining wedded to a nineteenth-century bricks and mortar mentality, while the world is going global through creative use of technology.

— Annual debt service payments at SDSU for infrastructure projects have more than doubled over the past ten years, growing on average 9% per year.

— Dozens of programs have low enrollments, yet are rarely consolidated or closed; meanwhile new and expensive programs are regularly added.

— Executive salaries have grown and have outpaced the current professional standards in the community in the midst of a serious, ongoing economic and budget challenging environment. The teacher to student ratios continue to be manipulated, while the growth of administrative positions has nearly increased by 40% in the last five years.

If SDSU is serious about it’s commitment to students, the community, and meeting both the future employment needs of graduates while meeting the needs of industry, it must return back to its core mission.

— Focus on education which trains, provides tools and generates skills which keep up with the needs of industry, technology and commerce.

— Administrative and professor salaries should be based on “pay for performance”. How many students enrolled, graduated and were ultimately able to obtain meaningful employment in their area of studies and expertise?

— Implement zero-based budgeting at SDSU. Every program at the university should have to demonstrate the necessity for its continued existence before being adopted in the annual university budget. It is time to establish zero based budgeting which requires the annual budget to be developed from ground zero, rather than simply constructed from the previous year’s spending. For too long, SDSU’s budget levels have been decided by building on existing budgets, allowing campus bureaucracies to grow without scrutiny. Under zero based budgeting, every department and program would be required to justify each proposed expenditure and rank them in order of priority and demonstrate how it will result in graduating students with competency and current job skills resulting in relevant employment opportunities.

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Comments

ahousebythesea April 17, 2013 @ 6:19 a.m.

Good luck to you Keep on Truckin Tim. You have a rough road ahead but I know a few who stuck with it and found success along that very difficult road. It can be done. Take all the help you can get and try to igore the aggravation and red tape that often comes along with assistance. I have been educated: AB109, jail vs. prison, state vs. county responsibility, parole vs. probation vs. supervision, inmate vs. prisoner vs. criminal.

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